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Merry Gentleman, The


Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Michael Keaton, Bobby Cannavale, Tom Bastounes, Darlene Hunt

Director: Michael Keaton

With that title, a Christmas setting and Keaton among the stars, it's a comedy, right? Wrong! This is as sombre and downbeat a film as you could find before The Road comes along, even though Keaton directed it as well.

Katie (Macdonald), a US-based Scots girl on the run from an abusive husband, finds herself courted both by a fat cop (Bastounes) and a thin hit-man (Keaton) who doubles up as a tailor's cutter. Sounds lively? Wrong again! The film is as glum and slow as a funeral in a traffic jam. Come to think of it, a traffic jam might liven it up a bit.

Macdonald is resolutely downtrodden, while Keaton, though his character is clearly suicidal, gives himself almost nothing to say. His direction leaves a lot to be desired, too, allowing any suspense in the film to languish and die in the general torpor. Critics argued as to the meaning of the ending, but it's a pretty poor one anyway.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by FotoKem.
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Dec 2009